Accept Payments Online: eChecks, ACH, Credit Cards, and More
If 2021 and 2022 showed businesses anything, it was that online payments are here to stay. Consumers want and even demand the convenience, and businesses need to be ready. Luckily, there are a lot of easy options that let you accept payments online, no matter the size of your business.
According to Insider Intelligence (2021), it’s thought the impact of COVID “expedited the digitization of the payments industry by two or three years”. In 2021, mobile commerce sales reached $2.91 trillion, and almost 3 out of every 4 dollars spent on digital shopping is now done through a mobile device (Oberlo). These numbers, and the shift in buyer behavior they represent, cannot be ignored.
Top Ways To Accept Online Payments
We’ve put together a list of all the different ways you can accept online payments. These options are easy, convenient, and seamless for you and your customers.
1. Accept Credit Cards and Debit Cards Online
Allowing customers to pay with their credit card on your website is the most basic way to accept payments online. To do this, you need to decide whether to have your own dedicated merchant account or use an intermediary holding account.
Choosing one method over means very different business processes and funding times, so it’s important to research and determine the best option for your business.
Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover are the among most widely accepted major credit cards. By the end of 2021, there were about 742 million Visa cards in the U.S., with more than 1.8 billion worldwide.
In comparison, there were about 249 million MasterCard, about 54 million American Express, and 57 million Discover cards in circulation in the U.S. at the end of 2021.
Reducing your reliance on cash transactions has become smart business:
2. Accept Online Payments with eChecks and ACH
Another way to accept online payments is through a direct debit of a bank account with an eCheck, or electronic check, through ACH payment options. This allows your customer to input the information from their paper check (routing and account number, name, amount, and authorization) into an online payment form or software interface. An ACH transaction processes the payment electronically—without the physical presence of a paper check. You can learn more about eChecks here.
ACH processing is governed by the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA) and has different transaction fees (often lower) than credit cards. It can also be more secure and predictable than waiting for a check to come in the mail, making it one of the better online payment options for small businesses.
3. Look Into Mobile Payments, Which Continue to Grow
Dipping a debit chip card, swiping a credit card, or keying in a credit card number on a mobile device is becoming the norm for many customers and businesses. Their payment is confirmed and an emailed receipt can be sent immediately. Add to that the ability to sell and buy services and products online, access cash flow reporting, manage customer accounts, and send invoices from anywhere you have a signal, and you start to see the benefits of using a mobile payment app and contactless payment for your business.
It’s also interesting to note the demographics behind mobile payments, because this can help you better define your target audience:
- 63% of female users aged 16 to 24 rely on mobile ecommerce, while only 55.8% of male users of the same age range do so (GWI, 2021).
- 8% of female users aged 25 to 34 buy goods via their mobile devices, while male users of the same age group only comprise 58.1% (GWI, 2021).
- The percentage of 35- to 44-year-old female users depending on mobile ecommerce is 40.5%; for the males, it is 55.4% (GWI, 2021).
- Female users in the age bracket of 45 to 54 make up mobile ecommerce percentage by 51%, while it is 46.9% for the males (GWI, 2021).
- 38% of female users aged 55 to 64 use mobile ecommerce, while 35.8% of male users of the same age range do the same (GWI, 2021).
4. Provide an Online Payment Gateway
By adding a simple online payment form, customers can pay your business directly on your website. Returning customers can even create accounts to save their payment information for fast and easy repeat payments.
You can outsource this feature to companies that specialize in online payment services, known as payment service providers, including hosting the payment form, providing the secure payment processing, and handling secure customer account storage. Depending on your provider, you can even customize the form to match your branding.
A payment gateway is distinct from a payment processor. Both are two components to the backend of accepting payments. The payment processor connects to the merchant account.
If you’re a service-based company, offering customers an online payment form enables them to pay you easily and allows you to accept payments online by credit card, debit card, or eCheck. Another great bonus is that online payment forms give you an online destination for services you market through email or social posts.
5. Add Click-to-Pay Email Invoicing
For service-based businesses especially, you can send your customers an invoice by email and get paid in a few clicks.
Email invoicing gives your customer the ability to pay their bills online and receive a receipt in seconds. You can share an online payment form with your customer through email. This helps streamline your reporting and manage your data securely. Now, when your customer clicks and makes an online payment, the invoice is automatically marked as paid in your system.
For some customers, environmental concerns play an important role in their decision to pay and view bills online. To get your hesitant customers to move from paper to email, send both for a few months so they can experience the convenience and see the value. Then ask them to make the switch.
6. Schedule Recurring Billing
Another popular payment method, especially for monthly services like gyms and child care services, is recurring billing. This is not only easier for your customers, but it almost guarantees you will be paid on time.
Staying organized is a top concern for customers when it comes to paying bills each month. Sending email reminders, or providing payment options (like recurring billing) can make your customers’ lives easier, while increasing their satisfaction and ensuring a reliable revenue stream for your business.
7. Build an Online Store
Similar to a payment gateway with online forms, a full online store allows you to both accept payments online and generate new orders online, 24/7. For today’s ecommerce and subscription-based businesses, an online store that accepts payments isn’t only convenient, it’s necessary.
The best options offer a variety of features alongside each other, like:
- One-time purchases
- Recurring subscriptions or donations
- Monthly memberships
Unless you code, you’ll likely outsource this to a company that specializes in online stores, including handling your customer payments securely and collecting order management and tracking data.
8. Integrate Payments Into Your Custom Mobile App
If you’ve developed a native mobile application for your customers, it’s because you wanted to create a seamless end-to-end experience for them. But if your app bumps them to another website or forces them to use a desktop to pay, it adds friction to their experience.
It also makes it more difficult for your business to actually get paid.
Make it easy by enabling secure credit card or ACH bank transfer payments directly within your mobile app. Look for a solution that ensures PCI compliance so you keep your customer’s information safe.
What’s The Best Way To Accept Payments Online?
The options for accepting online payments continue to grow and evolve. The key is to understand all the pros and cons, as well as the cost of having (or not having) a particular method.
Your goal should also be to make bill paying easy for your customers so getting paid becomes faster and more reliable than ever before.
Are you ready to expand your online payment options? To accept payments anytime, anywhere, choose PaySimple. You’ll enjoy access to many of these online payment options, like credit card payments, ACH bank transfers, recurring billing, and email invoicing, all on one platform. We offer small business payment options all for one low monthly price, with no contracts and no cancellation fees.
> Supporting Content: What are Electronic Payments?
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